“A Clockwork Orange” is a dystopian future novel written by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962. The book was successful in part due to its fascinating usage of a slang developed by Burgess that combines English Cockney rhyming slang, modified Slavic words and many words that Burgess made up himself. The slang is referred to as ‘
The slang is referred to as “Nasdat” in the book and is present throughout all of the stream-of-consciousness style narration. The term “Ultraviolence” in particular was coined by Burgess for the book and refers to acts of excessive and often aesthetic violence.
In 1971, the book was adapted into a well-known movie starring Malcolm McDowell and directed by Stanley Kubrick.
The book itself is told from the perspective of the main character, Alex a fifteen-year-old boy who, with his gang of “droogs” goes out every evening to drink hallucinogen-laced drinks and participate in extreme, mindless violence.
After robbing and killing an old woman, Alex is taken in by the police and sent to jail where he undergoes an experimental treatment that is meant to take away his violent impulses by forcing him to associate violence with getting ill.
The treatment is a success and Alex is released from prison a new man who cannot think of let alone commit any acts of violence without becoming terribly ill and vomiting. Alex is featured in the newspaper as a success story for the treatment and is then kidnapped by a group of political protesters who want to kill him so that it will come back on the prison system.
Alex escapes by jumping from a window but is hospitalized from the fall. While he is in the hospital he is deprogrammed and finds that he is able to commit violence again without getting sick. Alex leaves the hospital and meets up with a new gang but finds that he has changed and does not enjoy violence as much anymore.
In the near future, the main character, Alex sits at a bar called the Korova with his gang, Pete, Georgie and Dim drinking the drug-laced milk that the bar serves.
The boys discuss what to do with their night as they drink and Alex, the narrator describes the girls in the bar and the effects of the ‘milk plus’ cocktails that they are all drinking. The milk is laced with hallucinogens that put on into a stupor, as Alex notes by pointing out another patron at the bar, a man who is slumped over and babbling nonsense.
When the gang’s drugs kick in Alex leads them out of the bar and onto the streets where they come across an old man returning from the library. The boys taunt the man before ripping apart his books and pulling out his false teeth and tearing off his clothes. Only then do they leave him alone on the street.
The gang go to a bar Duke of New York where four older women flirt with them after the boys buy drinks for them. The gang spends all of the money they have stolen and realized that they must steal more. They leave the bar and go to a corner store where they put on masks and steal the money from the register, severely beating the store owner and his wife.
After robbing the store, the droogs return to the Duke of New York to spend time with the ladies again. When the police come to question them, the ladies lie and say that they were with them the whole night. The boys taunt the police who are helpless to arrest them.
The boys leave the bar and come across an old drunk man singing songs in the street. After assaulting him, the man keeps singing. Dim punches the man in the mouth to get him to be quiet. The man starts talking about the state of the world and Alex, suddenly interested, tells the boys to hold off and asks him to continue.
The man says that that young people are taking over everything and him, an old man, can’t even live in the world anymore without being assaulted. He tells the boys that he is not afraid of them because, being drunk, he cannot feel their punches. The boys begin beating him again and keep going until he vomits up blood.
When they continue their walk, the boys come across another gang of droogs. The leader of the other droogs, Billyboy challenges them to a fight. Just as Alex and his gang are getting the upper hand, sirens start up nearby. Both gangs scatter and Alex and his droogs hide in an alleyway between two apartment buildings.
While catching his breath, Alex looks into one of the houses and notes that the State is showing a world cast on all of the televisions. Alex notices Dim staring dumbly at the moon and tells him to pay attention and that they need a car. The boys manage to steal a car and eventually decide to do “the old surprise visit” or breaking and entering.
The boys come across a house where Alex affects a courteous tone and asks the woman inside for a glass of water. Of course, when she opens the door, the boys push past her and put on their masks. The woman’s husband is a writer, who is working on his manuscript titled, “A Clockwork Orange”. The boys make fun of the title before ripping the manuscript to pieces.
The writer attempts to defend himself against the boys but the gang restrains and beats him. Georgie and Pete raid the pantry but Alex stops them and claims he is disgusted. He tells them to hold the writing while he and Dim rape his wife.
After they finish the droogs leave the house and return to their car where they go back out on the town. The gang returns to the Konovo Milkbar where they notice that a flood of new patrons have come in. One woman sings a few bars from an Opera to Alex and Dim makes fun of her. Alex becomes enraged and calls Dim a “filthy drooling mannerless bastard” before punching him in the mouth.
This sparks a fight between the two boys and Pete tries to calm them both down. Alex tells them that he is the leader and Dim has to learn his place and the other boys are too afraid of him to speak out.
Dim drops the argument and says that they should all go home and go to bed. Alex leaves the bar with a razor already in his hand in preparation for retaliation from Billyboy’s gang.
Alex returns home to his mother’s apartment and eats the dinner that she has prepared for him. Before going to sleep, Alex listens to classical music on his stereo and thinks about what he read of the manuscript from the writers house.
The next morning Alex is too tired to go to school and complains to his mother. She is skeptical, but agrees to let him stay home. Alex explains to the reader that the State requires all adults to work when they finish school and that his father works at a dyeworks while his mother works at a State controlled food market.
Alex falls asleep again and is awoken to the sound of the doorbell ringing. At the door is P.R. Deltoid, Alex’s Post -Corrective Adviser. Deltoid tells Alex that he knows about the fight will Billyboy and that the police are looking for him and his gang. Alex assures Deltoid that he is innocent but Deltoid does not believe him. He tells Alex to stay out of trouble and warns him that the police will want to question him.
Deltoid leaves and Alex thinks that he has no reason to be worried. Alex thinks that a government that doesn’t allow it’s people to misbehave denies them their right to be a human being. Alex enjoys committing crimes and doesn’t intend to stop.
Alex eats breakfast and scoffs at the story about the violent “Modern Youth” in the newspaper. He remembers a theory he once read about how a greater appreciation for art would stem the violence in modern youth. Alex thinks that this is ridiculous because for him violence has always been art.
Alex leaves his parents apartment to go to the record shop. While there he sees two 10 year old girls and convinces them to come back to his apartment with him to listen to classical music. Once he gets them there he injects himself with a drug, gets the girls drunk and then rapes them.
After the girls leave in hysterics, Alex listens to Beethoven’s Ninth symphony and dozes off again. Alex waits late in the evening and brushes off his parents concern before meeting the droogs again.
The droogs are sarcastic to Alex and before long another in-fight breaks out. The other droogs tell Alex that they want a more democratic approach to the group and that they have come up the plan for the night themselves.
Alex begins to play along but before they can leave the building Alex hears some of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and draws a razor on Georgie. He and Georgie tussle until Alex cuts Georgie’s hand. Dim comes after him with a chain but Alex manages to cut his wrist. Pete stands on the sidelines, too scared to react and worried about Dim.
Alex, flush with victory, binds Dim’s wound himself and brings them to the Duke of New York in the hopes of reconciliation. Georgie then tells him of the plan to rob an old, rich mansion called the Manse.
The boys approach the Manse and Alex, intending to reassert his leadership, has the boys boost him into a high window so that he can go in and do the job himself. Inside, an old woman sits surrounded by many cats. Alex intends to beat and rape her and take everything valuable in the house but as he is approaching her he is distracted by a bust of Beethoven on the mantle.
Alex slips on a saucer of milk laid out for the cats and the old woman begins beating him with her cane. Alex knocks her over but one of he accidentally steps on one of the cats which attack him. Alex trips again and the old woman calls on her cats to attack him. To Alex’s surprise, the cats do. Enraged, Alex manages to knock the old woman unconscious with a heavy silver statue from the mantle.
However, he hears a police siren outside and realizes that he must escape. Outside, Dim waits for him and whips him in the eyes with his chain. The rest of the droogs run off, laughing. Alex is picked up by the police and taunted as they beat him.
In the police station, Alex demands a lawyer and is laughed and beaten again by the police. P.R. Deltoid visits Alex and spits in his face before leaving. The officers force Alex to make a statement confessing to his crimes. Alex confesses everything he did for the past twenty-four hours and includes the betrayal by his friends. The police put Alex in a holding cell where he has to fight off two prisoners trying to molest him.
Alex eventually manages to get some sleep and dreams about Beethoven. He imagines violent lyrics to “Ode To Joy”. An officer wakes him the next day and tells him that the old woman that he assaulted has died overnight.
After many court hearings and testimonies from P.R. Deltoid, Alex is sentenced to fourteen years in a State jail. He is given an identifying number and told that while in jail he will only be known by this number.
Over time we are told that the first two years of prison are a nightmare for Alex. He is made to work every day making matchboxes in the workshop and constantly assaulted by fellow prisoners and guards. He misses his days as a criminal and wishes he could get out. When he hears that Georgie has been killed while robbing a house with Dim and Pete he is overjoyed.
Alex gets a new job in the prison operating the stereo for the prison Chaplin. He enjoys this and likes the Chaplin. The Chaplin encourages him to read the Bible and Alex enjoy the violence and sex in the book. He listens to classical music as he reads about Jesus’ suffering on the cross.
Alex asks the Chaplin about a new program he has heard of which shortens prisoners sentences. The Chaplin says that he doesn’t approve of it but Alex presses to be recommended for it. The program called Ludovico’s Technique, is experimental.
After getting into a fight with another inmate, Alex is sentenced to participate in the technique regardless. It is called Reclamation Technique by the doctors. The Chaplin seems to be upset as he apologizes to Alex for what is about to happen to him.
Reclamation is another experimental technique that is supposed to remove the desire to hurt others. After the treatment is over, Alex will be released from jail. Alex thinks the idea that the State will make him “into a good boy” is laughable.
The next day, Alex is brought to a hospital-like building where he meets a doctor named Branom. Alex is given his own room and many amenities and told that all that he has to do for the procedure is watch a series of “special films”. After every meal, he is to be injected with something that Alex assumes is a supplement.
However, the next day he is taken to a room with a huge wall screen and strapped down to a chair. The chair has special clips that are designed to keep his eyelids open at all times.
Alex, already physically weak from his first injection, is forced to watch a film about an old man being beaten and stripped naked by two young men. Afterward, he watches a violent film about a young girl being gang raped. Alex feels sick watching the films and finds that he is reacting differently to the violence than he normally does. He wonders how the videos could have been made with the victim’s consent as they appear so real.
Alex is made to watch more violent films as a doctor named Brodsky measures his reactions through wires that are connected to the chair. Alex begins to get more and more sick watching the films and begs for the doctors to turn them off. The doctors just laugh at him.
After he is done for the day, Alex is returned to his room where he is visited by Dr. Branom. Branom tells Alex that his brain is in the process of learning that violence is wrong and that he should expect to feel a bit sick for a few days.
After he leaves Alex thinks about how he still plans to do evil things after being released from prison.
A man referred to as a Discharge Officer visits Alex and talks with him a bit. Before leaving, he asks Alex if he would like to punch him to see how he is getting on with his treatment. Alex does take a swing at the man but misses and afterward becomes violently ill just as he had when he was watching the movies.
That night Alex dreams of more violence and wakes to vomit. He finds that he cannot leave his room to do so and must wait till nausea has passed. He lies on his bed shaking and afraid to go back to sleep.
Alex resumes his treatment the next day and reacts with violent anger when one of the films plays Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. He calls out for the doctors to stop the film but the doctors only puzzle over his reaction to the music.
The doctors tell Alex that he is undergoing a treatment which involves associative learning. They are teaching his brain that violence is wrong by injecting him with something that makes him sick before viewing violent films. Alex assures them that he has learned his lesson but the doctors merely laugh at this and pat him on the shoulder.
Alex continues his treatment for many days. His attempts to rebel are all met with failure. One day Alex realizes that the wires and injections are no longer causing him nausea and headaches that he is receiving but the films alone are doing it.
This realization brings him to tears. Later that night Alex attempts to knock out an orderly to escape but when he raises his fist to strike the man he is overwhelmed with nausea and staggered by it. The orderly punches him in the face.
Alex realizes that he feels better receiving the punch than giving one. On the last day of his treatment, Alex is given back all of his old things including his razor. He is brought to the screening room once again but this time, in place of a screen a panel of well-dressed men sits to judge him. Dr. Brodsky tells the men to observe Alex as a model citizen.
An old man is brought in to taunt and pinches Alex and he longs to reach for his razor but immediately feels sick when he thinks about it. Alex realizes that he must change the man’s hostility. He offers the man his razor, but the man slaps it out of his hand.
Desperate to escape the situation, Alex begins licking the man’s boots and clings to his ankles until the man falls over. The doctors laugh at this but Alex is pained by the man’s violent fall and helps him to his feet.
Brodsky calls the man and the man leaves the room. Brodsky tells the panel that any violent thoughts on Alex’s part are accompanied by immediate physical distress and thus he is forced to show good behavior to avoid it.
Alex is distressed by the argument that ensues between the panel members and asks aloud: “What about me?…Am I just to be a clockwork orange?” One of the panel members scolds Alex for talking and the argument resumes.
Brodsky calls in the second volunteer and a beautiful girl enters. Alex thinks about raping her right away but the sickness reasserts itself and he ends up bowing to her and professing a noble devotion. After the girl leaves Alex feels stupid for playing into the doctor’s game.
Brodsky tells the panel that Alex has become a “True Christian who is ready to turn the other cheek”. Alex is made to undergo more humiliating demonstrations and press conferences before being released and put out on the street with nothing but the clothes on his back.
He goes to a diner for breakfast and finds a picture of himself at one of the conferences in the paper. The accompanying article talks about his treatment and what it means for the future of crime.
Alex decides to head home and notices that the streets are cleaner than he remembers them. When he gets to his parent’s house he finds a stranger eating dinner with them. Alex learns that his parents have rented out his room to this man. His mother begins to cry, worrying that Alex has broken out of prison but he explains that he was released.
However, when Alex goes to his room he finds that all of his things are gone. His father explains that the police took all of his possessions to compensate his victim. In this case, all of his things went to the old woman’s cats.
Alex must keep smiling to keep from getting sick. Joe, the lodger begins to berate him and his father tells him that he cannot stay there. Alex begins to cry and leaves his parent’s house.
He goes to the record store he used to frequent and asks to hear Mozart’s Fortieth Symphony but when the music starts he quickly remembers the damage that Ludovico’s Technique did to his love of classical music and must run from the store.
He goes to the Korova next and orders a hallucinogenic milk drink. As he drinks and hallucinates he begins to think about killing himself. Alex goes to the library to research painless suicide methods and, while there is discovered by an old man named Jack whom he beat up several years earlier.
Jack recognizes him and calls the other elderly library patrons to assault Alex. Alex cannot defend himself even though the patrons are all feeble. Alex quickly asks the librarian to call the police who arrive after Alex has been soundly beaten.
When the officers arrive, Alex is shocked to find that Billyboy and Dim are among them. Dim and Billyboy have heard about Alex’s treatment. They assume that Alex provoked the library patrons and drive him out into the countryside to beat him brutally and leave him out in the wilderness.
Alex avoids going back to town and instead follows the sound of a tractor to a farming village. He knocks on the door of a cottage and begs for a glass of water from the man who answers. The man living in the cottage is the writer whom Alex beat two years earlier. He doesn’t recognize Alex and offers him food and charity.
The man is a political protestor who recognizes Alex from his newspaper article and wants to use Alex to “dislodge” the current government. He confides in Alex that his wife died of shock after being raped two years earlier.
Alex stays the night in the man’s cottage and finds another copy of the manuscript “A Clockwork Orange”. Leafing through the manuscript, Alex discovers that it is about how the man thinks that people are fruit that grows on a tree that was planted by God.
God needs the fruit to slake his thirst for love. However, some people are in danger of being turned into machines by the progress of the modern world. Alex beings to doubt the man’s who he learns are named F. Alexander- sanity.
F. Alexander is cheerful when he greets Alex that morning and tells him that he has been writing an article about him and talking on the phone to his associates. Alex, remembering the night he attacked F. Alexander’s house, unthinkingly responds that he didn’t think the man had a phone. F. Alexander tenses up at this but his suspicion passes quickly.
When talking to F. Alexander, Alex momentarily slips into speaking with droog slang and this causes F. Alexander to get suspicious again as he remembers the slang from when his home was broken into.
F. Alexander’s associates, Z. Dolin, Rubinstein and D.B. arrive and fawn over Alex. Dolin wishes that Alex looked more tired and beaten down and this offends Alex who slips back into his slang again. Alex grows increasingly offended by the men treating him like a means toward their political end.
Alex set off on a rant during which he uses a large amount of droog slang and F. Alexander suddenly seems to get a crazed gleam in his eyes.
Dolin grabs Alex’s arm and the men bring him to an apartment in the city. Before they leave, they ask Alex if he is responsible for F. Alexander’s wife’s death. Alex replies that he has paid for his sins and then begins to feel sick.
Alex lies down and falls asleep. When he awakes, he hears classic music coming from another room and begins to feel sick again. He tries to go outside but finds that he is locked into the room he is. He bangs on the walls and begs them to turn off the music. He stumbles around the room and begs for God to help him.
On the floor, Alex finds two pamphlets. One of the pamphlets reads: “DEATH TO THE GOVERNMENT” and the second reads: “Open the window to fresh air, fresh ideas, a new way of living”. He sees this as a sign to jump from the window. Alex prays to God to forgive the world for ruining him and then jumps.
The fall does not kill Alex as he intended but he does become severely wounded and is unable to get up off the ground. He thinks that F. Alexander’s associates meant to kill him for their politics.
Alex slips into unconsciousness and wakes up a week later in the hospital. Alex is covered in bandages and missing several teeth. He drifts in and out of consciousness as doctors tend to him. One day he wakes up to see F. Alexander and his associates telling him that he served “Liberty” well.
They show him newspaper headlines castigating the governor among other officials and Alex tries to yell at them but cannot speak through his broken mouth.
Alex’s parents visit him and say that Joe has returned to his hometown after being beaten by police in the street. They offer to let Alex come back home and apologize for turning him out. Alex orders them away and says that if he comes back things will have to abide by his rules from now on.
Once he is alone with his thoughts, Alex realizes that he isn’t experiencing nausea when he thinks violent thoughts anymore. He asks the nurse if something has been done to his head and she answers vaguely. Eventually, a doctor informs him that he has been cured of his nausea by “deep hypnopaedia”.
Some time later, the Minister of the Interior visits Alex accompanied by photographers and reporters. He apologizes to Alex and asserts that the government never meant him any harm. He also says that Alex is now cured and they have set up a job for him when he is released from the hospital. F. Alexander has been imprisoned for Alex’s protection. The Minister tells Alex that he should think of him as a friend.
Before leaving, the Minister gifts Alex with a large stereo which he uses to listen to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Alex is released from the hospital a short while later. In the final chapter, he sits with his new droogs– Len, Rick and Bully at the Korova.
Alex and the others try to figure out what to do with their night and Alex begins to think that he has tired of the routine of theft and violence. Alex feels the hallucinations kick in and punches another patron in the stomach before leading his droogs out into the street.
The droogs come upon an old man and Alex tells Bully to beat him up. They then go to the Duke of New York where they bump into the same women that Alex met there in the first chapter. Alex turns them down this time. Eventually, though, he agrees to buy them drinks and as he is getting his money clip out a newspaper clipping falls from his pocket.
On the clipping is a picture of a baby. The droogs get hold of it and make fun of Alex for being soft. Alex rips the picture up and chastises the group much to their confusion. He tells them they are evil for taking advantage of the helpless.
Alex leaves the bar alone and feels off. He relates that he doesn’t enjoy listening to classical symphonies anymore but now only listens to operatic German love songs. Alex bumps into Pete and learns that Pete has since married and put the life of a droog behind him.
Now he and his wife, Georgina are managing to scrape by on their pooled incomes. Alex is amazed that Pete has grown up so much. He leaves him and goes to a cafe where he sits to think about his life. Alex, now eighteen years old, wonders what is in his future and thinks about all of the great composers who had already done so much by the time they were his age.
Alex leaves the cafe and pictures himself married with a son of his own. He likes the idea. Alex feels that this is what he sees as being grown up and that youth is just a wind-up toy that constantly runs into obstacles. Alex realizes that he is no longer young.
Alex – The main character and narrator of the novel. Alex is a fifteen-year-old boy and a budding psychopath who enjoys committing crimes and extreme acts of violence for the fun of it. Like all of the other teenagers in the novel, Alex speaks in a stylized slang called “Nadsat” which he uses to narrate the novel. Alex spends most of the novel as a highly unsympathetic protagonist, who details his interest in sadistic violence as if it were commonplace and does not seem to consider that anyone else would think differently.
Alex spends most of the novel as a highly unsympathetic protagonist, who details his interest in sadistic violence as if it were commonplace and does not seem to consider that anyone else would think differently.
Aside from his addiction to violence, Alex’s main character trait is a love of classical music. Alex believes that crime and violence are a form of art and enjoys classical music for the same reason. When listening to the music, Alex is shown to experience something close to a religious or even sexual joy.
Alex further illustrates his mental connection between violence and music by using the most musical language in the book to describe his most violent crimes.
Alex rarely considers himself in a larger social context and never really tries to explain or justify his actions. When asked by others as to the source of his anger and violence, he gives short, anti-intellectual answers.
Alex believes that humans are naturally evil and that taking away a man’s violent side would be depriving him of his right to be a human.
Though most protagonists undergo some type of change and growth throughout the novel, Alex arguably does not. He does feel at the end of the book that he is no longer a child and that he might like to get married and have children of his own. But the usage of the similar scene work that opens the novel in the last scene illustrates that Alex has not come as far as he thinks and probably has not really changed at all.
But the usage of the similar scene work that opens the novel in the last scene illustrates that Alex has not come as far as he thinks and probably has not really changed at all.
F. Alexander – One of Alex’s main antagonists. F. Alexander is a writer and a political dissident who is attacked by Alex and his gang in his home in the beginning of the novel. It is from F. Alexander’s manuscript that the title of the book originates.
Alex and F. Alexander are described as being mostly polar opposites. Alex is a young man who thrives on impulse and F. Alexander is an older, reserved man who thinks his actions through and is described as being intelligent.
F. Alexander thinks in more broad and abstract terms than Alex. When Alex arrives at his door begging for help after being beaten by the police, F. Alexander agrees to help him only because he sees him as a victim of the modern world and not a helpless boy.
When Alex asks F. Alexander how he intends to us his mistreatment by the government to help people, F. Alexander cannot come up with a clear answer.
Considering the fact that F. Alexander has witnessed mankind’s worst side thanks to Alex, his belief that man is still capable of goodness and concern with helping people is noble.
However, he seems incapable of seeing Alex as a person and is perfectly ready to use him to get what he wants from the government although it is never made obvious whether this is because he recognizes Alex as the boy who beat him and raped his wife.
Dr. Brodsky – The State doctor who oversees Alex’s experimental treatment. Brodsky is shown to have an admittedly sadistic side as he often laughs at Alex’s suffering and brushes off most of the boy’s complaints with a hand wave or a pat on the shoulder.
Brodsky is similar to F. Alexander in that he does not seem to view Alex as an individual person but as a means to an end. In Brodsky’s case, the end is a State grant for his procedure that uses brainwashing to force criminals to associate any violent crime with extreme illness.
Brodsky has no moments of kindness toward Alex but does not seem to hate him either. He views him, much like F. Alexander’s manuscript posits, as a machine. At the end of Alex’s procedure, Brodsky announces him cured and releases him onto the streets without a second thought.
Dim – A member of Alex’s gang of droogs who later becomes a police officer while Alex is in prison. Dim is described as being a large and strong but stupid boy who is used for his brute strength in the gang.
Dim fights with a chain in the way that Alex uses a razor. He regularly gets into fights with Alex and it is he who primarily betrays Alex during the robbery of the Manse. After becoming a police officer, Dim takes out his anger on Alex once again by beating him in a field.
Pete – A member of Alex’s droogs. Pete is the most mild-mannered and reserved member of the gang. Although he still engages in violent crimes, during in fights he is always standing by nervously and he is the only one that does not challenge Alex for superiority in the gang.
While Alex is in prison, Pete makes a better life for himself outside of the droogs and when Alex sees him again 3 years later he is married and living a calm, simple life. It is his apparent satisfaction with his lifestyle that makes Alex consider if he might want it for himself as well.
John Anthony Burgess Wilson Biography
John Anthony Burgess Wilson was born on February 17th, 1917 in Harpurhey, Lancashire, England. Burgess grew up in a Catholic family during the Great Depression although his family was comparatively well off as his father ran a tobacco and alcohol shop.
During the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918, Burgess lost both his mother and his sister to the illness. After his mother’s death, Burgess was sent to live with his aunt Ann until his father remarried in 1922. In 1938, Burgess’ father died and left him no inheritance.
Burgess attended Xaverian College from 1928 to 1937 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. Burgess met Llewela Isherwood Jones while at University and the two married in 1942.
During World War II, Burgess served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and later became a sergeant in the Army Educational Corps. After the war, Burgess became a lecturer in drama and speech at the Mid-West School of Education in Wolverhampton and later at a training college near Preston.
In 1950 he began teaching English Literature at a grammar school in Banbury. After joining the British Colonial Service, Burgess became a teacher in Malaya and it was there that he wrote and published his first novels, “Time for a Tiger” (1956), “The Enemy in the Blanket” (1958) and “Beds in the East” (1959). These later became known as his “Malayan Trilogy”.
After leaving Malaya, Burgess traveled farther east to Brunei for another teaching job. Burgess and his wife were soon sent away from Brunei for reasons that have been disputed ever since. Burgess soon became ill and was told that he had an inoperable brain tumor. He began writing furiously, desperate to give his wife some money to live off of after he was gone.
It was during this period in 1960 that he published three more books and two more the following year in 1961. Burgess soon returned to the hospital and was told that there was no sign of any tumor in his brain. By this time, he had made so much money publishing books that he was able to quit teaching and become a full-time writer.
In 1962, Burgess published what was to become his best-known work, “A Clockwork Orange”. By this point, Burgess and his wife were estranged and he had begun an affair with an Italian translator named Liliana Macellari. Macellari gave birth to Burgess’ son Paolo in 1964.
In 1968, Burgess wife died of cirrhosis of the liver and six months later Burgess married Liana. During the 1970’s, Burgess and his family toured Europe and briefly lived in the United States where Burgess became a visiting professor at Princeton University among other prestigious colleges.
Eventually, he moves to Monaco where he became a co-founder of the Princess Grace Irish Library and the center for Irish cultural studies in 1984.
Burgess died from lung cancer on November 22nd, 1993 at his home in Twickenham, England. His ashes were returned to Monaco where they were interred in the Monaco Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and son who died in 2007 and 2002, respectively.